SPEECH TITLES AND/OR TOPICS
Globalization | Leadership | Politics
Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Ph.D., served as President of the Republic of Latvia from 1999 to 2007 and was the first woman Head of state in Eastern Europe. She actively worked towards the democratization of the country and the strengthening of its legal basis. She successfully implemented Latvia's foreign policy interests by guiding its entry into the EU and NATO and raised the nation's recognition in the world through her work at the UN and other international activities. She was named Special Envoy to the Secretary General on United Nations reform in 2005 and an official candidate for UN Secretary General in 2006.
Dr. Vike-Freiberga remains active in the international arena and continues to speak up in defense of democracy and social justice, and for the need of Europe to acknowledge the whole of its history. In December 2007, she was named vice-chair of the Reflection Group on the long-term future of the EU. She is a member of the Council of Women World Leaders, The Club of Madrid, and the European Council on Foreign Relations.
Dr. Vike-Freiberga has been awarded 34 Orders of Merit and 16 honorary doctorates, as well as many prizes and honors, including the 2005 Hannah-Arendt Prize for political thinking, the 2006 Walter-Hallstein Prize for discourse on the identity and future of the EU, and the 2009 Hayek Medal for promotion of freedom and free trade.
Vaira Vike was born in Riga, Latvia, but fled from her home with her parents during World War II. She spent part of her childhood in refugee camps in Germany, attended schools in French-administered Morocco, and later settled in Canada. She worked for many years as a professor of psychology at the University of Montreal, has published extensively in several languages, and has gained recognition as an interdisciplinary scholar and expert on science policy. She received her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from McGill University, Montreal, Canada.